Republic FC Owner Kevin Nagle
Long before he helped fund and kick off the United Soccer League’s perennial powerhouse, Sacramento Republic FC, Kevin Nagle was kicking around innovative ideas for managing health and pharmacy benefits more cost-effectively for payors and patients. In 2001, the entrepreneur founded a company called EnvisionRx. In 2014, Envision was purchased by Rite Aid for $2.3 billion. What kinds of innovations lie ahead for health benefits management, pro sports, and real estate in the Sacramento/Northern California market? And what’s this about his new movie career? To find out, join us at noon on Tuesday, May 2nd, when Nagle will be our featured guest speaker. Reservations are requested. Be sure to register as soon as you get the invitation email from ClubRunner. And bring a friend!
Recap of the April 25th Meeting
Reported by Danielle McGarrity
With a large and enthusiastic crowd applauding the news, Past-President THOM GILBERT was revealed as the 2023 Jean Runyon Community Service Award during our weekly meeting last Tuesday at the Annunciation Greek Church. Following is a recap of the meeting, including the award presentation and remarks by special guest speaker Christine Hunter.
Thought for the Day
DR. BARBARA ARNOLD (Ophthalmologist/Barbara J. Arnold, MD) talked about the value of trust in community leaders. “Those who ‘walk the walk’ inspire change, develop positive relationships, build cooperation and resolve conflicts,” she said, “and today is a celebration of this kind of leadership.”
Guests Welcomed
Segreant-at-Arms KATHE NATHAN introduced a lengthy list of guests. They included: Linda Gilbert, wife/guest of Past-President THOM; Rodger Godfrey, guest of President-Elect TODD KOOLAKIAN (Director of Philanthropy/Sacramento Children’s Home); Mark Geery, husband/guest of President LINDA GEERY (CFO/California Lawyers Association); Jonathan Bolivar, Steve Fong, Chris Holben, Kelley Kent, and Scott Rose, all from RSE Advertising; Helen Berhe, Darla Colson, Sarah Ellis, Keith Glen, Jennifer Iwata, Dave Ljung, Ed Straine, Peggy Vande Vooren, Amanda Williams and Kevin Wong, all from Gilbert Associates CPAs; Heather Fargo, Cecily Hastings, Kimberly Mueller, Estelle Saltzman, and Sandy Smoley, all guests of the Jean Runyon Award Committee; guest speaker Christine Hunter and associate Sandy Sagen; and visiting Rotarian J.R. Alward.
Meeting Sponsor
Meeting Sponsor APRIL JAVIST (Executive Director/Sacramento Literacy Foundation) used her time at the microphone to document a history of firsts for U.S. women, especially as related to education. In 1826 the first high school for girls opened in Boston. In 1873 the Regents of the University of California decided that women should be evaluated for admission on an equal basis as male applicants. In 1972 Title IX ensured that male and female students and employees in educational settings are treated equally and fairly. In 1987 the first female Rotarian was admitted in Duarte, CA and shortly thereafter, our own Jean Runyon became the first female member of the Sacramento club. “Firsts matter!” said April.
Rotarian Spotlight
Past President DIANE WOODRUFF (Retired Chancellor/California Community Colleges) put the spotlight on two club members with April birthdays. She said…
“DAVID BRANDENBURGER is currently a Managing Director at Newmark Commercial Real Estate. One of the most impressive things he has done in his career was representing client JMA Ventures in the purchase of Downtown Plaza—which JMA subsequently sold to the Kings, leading to the development of the Golden 1 Center. So, we have David to partially thank for our beautiful Golden 1 Center! You might remember the story in the 90s about a group of MIT students who used card counting in Las Vegas and other casinos to make millions of dollars. There was a book written about it (“Bringing Down the House”) and a movie too (“21”). One of David’s MIT fraternity brothers was the lead character in the book and movie. When David was at MIT, he played water polo and he is now serving as the head coach of the women’s water polo team at Christian Brothers High School. David likes to ski on both water and snow. He once snow skied at Lake Tahoe in the morning and then water skied on Donner Lake on the same day. David and his wife have owned and shown two champion Hungarian hunting dogs, called Vizslas, and bred them three times for a total of 15 puppies. One of the puppies in their last litter is now a Grand Champion. If you are wondering if people involved in dog shows are as crazy, as depicted in the movie “Best in Show,” David says he can confirm that is the case.
LAURA HEINTZ is currently the CEO of Stanford Sierra Youth and Families. In 2019 she led an effort to merge two historically important organizations (Stanford Youth Solutions and Sierra Forever Families) into the organization she now heads. Last year, Stanford Sierra provided foster care and adoption services, mental health, and other services for more than 6,000 children and youth, whose average age was 13. Laura has received many awards for her work, including the Women Who Mean Business award and the Champion for Children Award, and she has even helped write a textbook about treating youth with traumatic stress. Laura grew up in this area and went to Elk Grove High School, where she was valedictorian of her class and a top female scholar-athlete. When she was growing up, her parents adopted a foster child who became Laura’s older sister. Laura is passionate about her work because of the great need. There are more than 8,700 youth in our area in need of a home. When Laura met her husband and they were first dating, he said “my mother knows you.”  Without missing a beat, Laura said, was she by any chance my preschool teacher?  It turns out she was. Laura had been looking for her preschool teacher for many years and was so happy she had finally found her through her soon-to-be husband.”
Club Announcements
  • JIM CULLETON (President/Strong & Associates) again asked for volunteers to help distribute dictionaries to third-grade classrooms at schools in disadvantaged areas. The dictionaries have been delivered to the schools and Jim is coordinating delivery. If you can help by joining one of the delivery teams, please contact Jim right away.
  • MEGAN LAURIE (Director of Development & Marketing/UCP of Sacramento & Northern California) said all of the golfing slots have been filled for Golf4Kids on May 12th at Land Park Golf Course, but sponsors are still needed. She also reminded everyone that you don’t have to play golf to attend the post-golf dinner and auction that evening at Fairytale Town. For more information, MEGAN can be contacted by clicking here.
Jean Runyon Award Presentation
After Chair of the Day MAGGIE HOPKINS (Loan Officer-Realtor/Capital Premier Lending & Premier Realty) explained the basis for the award, DR. BARBARA ARNOLD, a previous recipient of the Jean Runyon Award, slowly revealed this year’s honoree by offering a series of clues to the audience: “Today, we honor a Rotarian who embodies community service, trailblazing and generosity, and is a champion for women in business. This Rotarian is the youngest of eight children and grew up in the San Fernando Valley. Their first jobs (babysitting and working at an A&W restaurant) enabled their first car purchase, a 1956 Pontiac Chieftain. They built their accounting firm (in 1984) on the values of diversity and equity, and today, the firm is one of Sacramento’s most renowned—with 60 employees and 10 partners. An Army veteran, helicopter pilot and recipient of Sacramento State’s Distinguished Alumni Award, they have been a proud Rotarian for 35 years. The Award Committee—KATHY HERRFELDT (Retired CEO/HomeAid), SARAH HODGE (Regional Affairs Representative/Association of California Water Agencies), MAGGIE HOPKINS, and TODD KOOLAKIAN)—is pleased to present the Third Annual Jean Runyon Community Service Award (and red blazer) to….THOM GILBERT!”
After receiving a lengthy standing ovation, Past-President THOM (Retired CEO/Gilbert Associates CPA) shared that his life motto is “Let’s Do the Right Thing,” and that he regularly reminds himself that the right thing is not the same for every person. His various life experiences taught him to value others’ perspectives and to be grateful for the opportunities he’s had. He advises employers to allow time for their employees to put family first, “self” second, and work third on their priority lists. Rotary’s commitment to “Service Above Self,” he said, channels his innate drive to give back to the community—especially to lift up young people. While Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) have become buzzwords, he said, he shared that the definition of the phrase means to shift mindsets and practices toward equitable leadership for people and organizations. He thinks it’s a “given” that this is something we should all strive for.
Guest Speaker
Chair of the Day MAGGIE introduced featured guest speaker Christine Hunter, author of “We Can Do This! Sacramento’s Trailblazing Political Women.” Her book studies women’s progress throughout the years, as exemplified by local women who took on leadership roles that have made a lasting difference in our community—including social services, housing, education, health care, parks and recreation, historic preservation, the arts, and the environment.
She identified several women in the room who are featured prominently in her book, along with Jean Runyon: former Mayor and City Councilmember Heather Fargo, U.S. District Court Judge Kimberly Mueller, co-founder of the Runyon Saltzman advertising agency Estelle Saltzman, and former Sacramento County Supervisor Sandy Smoley.
At a time when a female mayor could not attend a celebration honoring newly-elected leaders at the all-male Sutter Club, and when Jean Runyon was named “PR Man of the Year,” women in leadership roles had begun slowly transforming the local political landscape—by building coalitions, with empathy, and by claiming their seats at the table even when none were offered.
She recalled how Jean personified service above self and treated all people with respect. She was known for making connections, bringing people together and giving back to the community. Jean always loved theater, having studied drama at UC Berkeley with the goal of becoming an actress. She first got into public relations by promoting ticket sales for the Sacramento Music Circus, which also drove her philanthropy throughout her life. For her 70th birthday, friends surprised her with their intent to raise $300,000 to renovate the Little Theatre in Memorial Auditorium. Today that space bears her name, and her memory will always live on throughout our region.
President LINDA offered hearty thanks to Greeters JIM OLSON (Retired), Past-President KEN NOACK, JR. (Senior Managing Director/Newmark Knight Frank) and MIKE POLIS (Legal Counsel/Wilke Fleury), wine reception host STEVE HUFFMAN (Retired/Huffman Strategy), Pulse reporter DANIELLE MCGARRITY (Development Director/Children’s Receiving Home of Sacramento) and photographer JOHN SWENTOWSKY (Owner/Swentowsky Photography).
NEXT WEEK’S MEETING: Sacramento Republic FC owner and healthcare entrepreneur Kevin Nagle. Noon, Tuesday, May 3, Annunciation Greek Church.
Photo Gallery
(Snapshots from Tuesday’s meeting, courtesy of John Swentowsky)